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Driving Innovation

Richard ButterAs final preparations were being made for the inaugural Intertraffic Mexico show, we caught up with the brand’s manager of worldwide events, Richard Butter, to get his insights into the event and the forthcoming expos in Turkey and China.

What are the transportation challenges facing Mexico City, and the country as a whole, that Intertraffic Mexico can help to solve?

The biggest problem in Mexico City is the huge number of people traveling through it every day. There is so much traffic that often almost every street is blocked with cars.

They do have a good level of investment in public transport. They have their own metro system and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as they call it, and that’s working very well. But there are over 5.5 million registered cars in Mexico City, and car ownership has doubled in the past 10 years. Congestion is a massive problem, so they are waiting for smarter infrastructure solutions.

There’s room for much better communication or coordination of traffic control. For example, making traffic signals green for longer during busy times. At the moment it just doesn’t happen. It could be much smarter.

The Ministry of Communication and Transport is really eager to get international companies to share their technology. That’s what they really want to support – it’s important for development.

What are likely to be the challenges in terms of deploying new technologies?

Another big problem for transport systems is Mexico is in the standardization of technological solutions. Every company that supplies solutions has its own system, which doesn’t communicate with others. So when you are driving your car and you go to a tollway or something like that, you have one system, and when you enter the next tollway you have another.

There can also be issues with roads falling into disrepair because part of a road might be privately owned, and there’s no one to take responsibility for maintenance.

How about road safety? Is there room for improvement there?

Road casualties are a big issue right across Mexico, especially in bigger cities. But nobody knows exactly how many casualties there are because there’s no central system where every incident is recorded. We have been working with Adriana Lobo, executive director of CTS Embarq Mexico, in putting together our conference program. She is a key proponent of road safety in Mexico. She is part of our advisory board. (See Making Mexico’s roads safer, overleaf, for more from Adriana Lobo.)

Are there any other reasons you have decided to bring Intertraffic to Mexico?

The Mexican government has a huge stimulation plan for improving all the infrastructure problems. Every project has to be cooperative, so that means more technology and a greater need for international companies to take care of it. So there are some big investment plans.

More generally you can see how all the big banks and researchers are saying how well the economy has developed compared with other Latin American countries. Goldman Sachs predicts that Mexico’s economy will be eighth in the world by 2050 (currently it is 14th), so that gives Mexico a lot of potential and also shows why there is a need for an Intertraffic show.

What else can visitors look forward to at Intertraffic Mexico?

There is a full conference program that has a strong focus on regulation. We have put it together with collaboration from Mexico’s Ministry of Communication and Transportation. We want to promote better communication in the broadest sense of the word – between systems and between people – so that everyone knows about new responsibilities and regulation.

In 2017 there are also Intertraffic shows in Turkey and China. What are the challenges of these locations, and what are you particularly looking forward to at the shows?

Turkey, the Balkans and the Middle East form a region with enormous growth potential. With its key role as the longest-standing bridge between the East and the West, Turkey is one of the most important trade hubs in the world. Intertraffic Istanbul will be the gateway for companies and organizations working in the traffic technology market worldwide. Istanbul is the crossing point for new trade, which increases the importance of transportation projects that will support the rapidly increasing population and rising international trade.

China will continue to experience major economic growth and it is too large a market to ignore. This year the economy grew by 6.7%. China is seen as having one of the highest potentials in the transport industry. The total length of expressways has exceeded 120,000km (74,500 miles), ranking first in the world. In addition the Chinese government is continuously investing in new infrastructure. Intertraffic China will attract more international companies to this immense country.

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To learn more about the Intertraffic brand, which hosts a major traffic event every other year in Amsterdam plus boasts two very successful satellite shows, one held every two years in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other taking place annually in China alternating between Shanghai and Beijing, visit www.intertraffic.com.